April 2, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 8 Georgia men's tennis team (12-6, 7-1) returns to Athens for the final homestand of the 2014 regular season, set to host Arkansas and LSU at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The Bulldogs will take on the No. 59 Razorbacks on Friday night at 5 p.m. as part of the USTA's College MatchDay series, before turning around to face the No. 54 Tigers on Sunday at 1 p.m. for Senior Day. Georgia enters the weekend tied with Texas A&M for first place in the SEC standings with four matches to play.
As part of the MatchDay event, singles matches will be played first on Friday night. If the match has not yet been clinched after singles, doubles will be played using a 10-point super tiebreaker format. The first team to win two of the tiebreakers will clinch the team match.
SENIOR DAY FOR BRASSEAUX, PIETERS: Sunday's match vs. LSU will serve as Senior Day for the duo of Garrett Brasseaux and Hernus Pieters. The current seniors have already won a total of four SEC championships during their careers and have made two NCAA semifinal runs, with an overall record of 88-20.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bulldogs lost their first match in over a month last Friday night, falling 4-1 to No. 12 Texas A&M on the road in College Station to see their nine-match winning streak come to an end.
The match was delayed over two hours by rain, and was part of the USTA College MatchDay series, broadcast live on ESPN3 with singles played first and doubles only played if necessary. The Aggies were able to pull out four singles wins - coming at Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5. Georgia is now 12-6 on the season and 7-1 in SEC play, tied with TAMU for first place in the conference with four regular-season matches to go.
LOOKING AT THE RAZORBACKS: Arkansas comes into the weekend with an overall record of 12-13 and 2-7 in SEC action, including a notable 4-3 win over Florida last weekend at home in Fayetteville.
The Razorbacks are paced by Hall Fess' 8-6 dual match record, while the 71st-ranked doubles team of Hess and Pete Thomason lead the way at 9-3. Arkansas' team of Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott are also ranked, coming in at No. 37.
Georgia is 24-2 all-time vs. Arkansas, including a 4-1 win last season on the road.
LOOKING AT THE TIGERS: LSU enters at 11-10 overall and also 2-7 in conference play, heading to take on Tennessee in Knoxville on Friday night before continuing the trip to Athens.
The Tigers are coming off a 4-0 loss to the Gators on Sunday.
LSU is led by Harrison Kennedy with 11 dual match wins, while the doubles team of Boris Arias and Chris Simpson own the best record at 9-6. In singles, Simpson is ranked No. 77 - the lone LSU player in the poll this week - and in doubles, Arias and Simpson are No. 27 while Tam Trinh and Eric Perez are currently No. 70.
Georgia is 45-14 in the all-time series after last season's 4-0 shutout in Baton Rouge.
IN THE RANKINGS: Following two more wins to extend its winning streak to nine matches, the Georgia men's tennis team (12-5, 7-0) jumped three spots to No. 7 in last week's Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) weekly poll. Then, after a tough loss to No. 12 Texas A&M on the road on March 28, the Bulldogs fell one spot to No. 8 this week in the poll released on April 1.
In singles, Austin Smith continues to lead the way for the Bulldogs - coming in at No. 18 and on a nine-match winning streak with a team-high 29 wins. He is followed by Nathan Pasha at No. 39, Ben Wagland at No. 72, Garrett Brasseaux at No. 75, and Nick Wood at No. 117.
In doubles, Georgia's team of Wagland and Hernus Pieters shot up from No. 21 to No. 9.
DIAZ APPROACHING ANOTHER MILESTONE: Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz - now in his 26th season at the helm - is nearing yet another career milestone. Having entered the season with 585 victories to his name, he now stands with 597 and is just three shy of the 600-win plateau.
Diaz has the ninth-most wins in NCAA Division I men's tennis history, and is second all-time on that list among SEC coaches behind only Bulldog legend Dan Magill, who won 706 matches in 33 seasons from 1955-88.
Only eight NCAA Division I men's head coaches in history have won 600 matches in a career.
Diaz won his 500th match on March 15, 2010 against Vanderbilt, then snagged No. 550 in a 2012 dual match also against the Commodores.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs will conclude the 2014 regular season next weekend, traveling to take on Alabama on Friday night and Auburn on Sunday afternoon. The SEC Championships is set for the following week, April 18-21, in Nashville.